What are the benefits of sharing stories together every day?
It's often said that reading to young children helps to get them ready to learn to read and write once they’re a bit bigger.
While you’re reading with them and talking about stories you read, they’re also learning new words and building their language and communication skills.
But there are other benefits you might not even realise you’re giving your child when you share a book!
1. It builds your special connection (and guess what! That’s also where lots of the learning magic happens)
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that families are busy, especially if your little one also has siblings who need to be supported with school and other activities.
Reading time is quiet time spent together, and it’s an easy way to take a few minutes every day to sit quietly (put your feet up!) and take time out. These are special memories you’re creating, and you might even find that in years to come the books you’ve read over and over (and over….) again still hold a special place in both your hearts.
Kids learn best from the important people around them, so in these moments their brains are also firing quickly. Chatting with you about silly characters or wondering what will happen next in the story builds their brain development while it’s building your special bond.
2. It helps them to love reading
A lifelong love of reading is a gift, and it’s one you can help your child to discover for themselves. There are easy, fun ways you can help your child to love reading:
- Keep it fun. When they love what they read, they’ll naturally be drawn to it. You can also stop when they get bored or distracted, you don’t need to read all the way to the end of the book.
- Have books around the house. Research has shown that children who are surrounded by books at home are more likely to love reading and to also have larger vocabularies and improved comprehension. Borrowing regularly from your local library is also great way to have lots of books around without the expense.
- Have them within reach. Even as an adult it’s exciting to find a book you feel drawn to at the library or the bookstore, or an old favourite on the bookshelf. Have books around the home where your child can reach them (board books are great hard-wearing books for babies and toddlers), and you could even try leaving a couple with their toys.
3. It helps them develop their sense of belonging and community
We all want to feel like we have a safe and secure place in the world, and to feel like we are welcomed and included. For young children, seeing themselves in the books they read helps them to develop their sense of belonging and identity at an important time in their development. This might be seeing familiar places they know, reading stories about things they also like to do or are interested in, or seeing people who remind them of themselves, their friends and family, or others in their communities.